So you’ve just hired a talented individual to join your team, and you want to make sure that her initial experience with the company is awesome. You hope she brags to all her friends and family about how amazing her new company is. But when was the last time you assessed — let alone improved — your onboarding?

Consider this: your onboarding process is your new employee’s first impression of the inner workings of your organization. In other words, you need to make it count!

To help you create an unforgettable onboarding experience for your new hires, we put together this helpful guide. It includes a lot of the best practices that we use to onboard new team members at my company, so I hope it can help you. While these processes work best in person, they are also great to implement while onboarding remote employees — get creative with Zoom and virtual team-building exercises, to ensure your remote hires get the best experience possible.

Set expectations before they start working

Your new hire’s first experience with your company actually comes before their first working day. You have a chance to wow them before they even step foot inside the building. Give them a breakdown of what they can expect when they arrive on their first day.

  • Where can they park?
  • What are some local lunch spot favorites around the office?
  • What is their Day 1 agenda?
  • What time should they arrive to work?

These are all common questions that you should answer to help them alleviate some of that first day anxiety.

Make a strong impression on day 1 

It really helps your new hire feel comfortable when they sit down at their desk for the first time and they already have everything they need to get started. Here are some things you should have ready at your new hire’s desk when they arrive:

  • Tools they need to perform their job — keyboard, wireless mouse, laptop stand, etc.
  • An onboarding folder — this is a personalized A-Z style guide for working at your company. It should also include the roles and responsibilities of their position, as a reminder.
  • A nice welcome package — company branded t-shirt, wristband, pen, hat, and any other company swag.
  • An onboarding checklist — these are the top 10-15 things about your company that every person on your team needs to know. It should include things like the history of your company, profiles of the leadership team, your company’s mission and core values.

Push their start date to a day when you have a team-wide meeting

At my company, we have a team-wide meeting every Monday from noon to 1pm to go over important company updates and conduct our personal development training called the “Sensei Session”.

We always start new employees on Mondays so we can give them a proper introduction during our all-hands meeting. We typically introduce new hires to the entire org and try some virtual icebreakers — we ask them to share their name, their role, where they're from, and one weird or interesting thing about them.

We also add a little extra flare to our introductions. Our Director of Talent Acquisition plays the background music from the 1996 Chicago Bulls starting lineup intros and uses a bullhorn to introduce each new hire as if they’re about to run out on the court at the United Center.

Give them time to meet with each department head

During their first week on the job, it’s important that your new team member has a chance to learn the roles and responsibilities of each department. That way, they’ll get a much better understanding of the different moving parts inside your company.

Schedule back-to-back 15-minute meetings with every department head so your new hire can learn who works in which department and what they do on a day-to-day basis.

Organize a lunch with an executive during week 1

There have been more and more examples of companies achieving success with a flat organizational structure. A flat structure empowers individuals to become leaders and make decisions. In order to achieve this, employees need to have open and consistent lines of communication with the leadership team.

One amazing way you can promote a flat structure at your company is by having the CEO or President take out your new hire for lunch. This will give them a chance to create rapport with someone on the executive team and show that each member of the team is valued.

Give them a "Core Values" quiz at the end of week 1

If you put an emphasis on culture, everyone on the team should know your company’s core values inside and out. Write a core value quiz that your new hires must take and pass at the end of their first week.

By the way, if you haven’t yet defined your core values, you absolutely must. Here’s a quick, 5-step guide to get you started.

Create check-in points along the way

There can be unforeseen challenges that arise when someone starts a new job. They might not get along with a coworker, or their direct manager may not giving them enough training. You can get ahead of these problems by holding check-in meetings.

Your Hiring Manager or Head of HR should have a check-in meeting at the end of week 1, month 1, and month 3. The purpose of this meeting is to see how things are going, hear about challenges that they might not have discussed with their manager, and provide professional feedback so you can help them succeed.

Author Bio: Sean Kelly is the CEO of SnackNation, a healthy snack delivery service for offices across America. Sean is also the Founder of, an association dedicated to helping companies maximize employee engagement, productivity and wellbeing.